Pineapple Glazed Chicken with Pineapple-Mango Salsa

23 Apr

One of the biggest challenges for me (and about a billion other people) during race training is nutrition.  As soon as my metabolism spikes, I want to eat ALL OF THE THINGS.  So, for someone like me who has no self-control whatsoever, preparation is really critical.  Lately, I’ve been making a more significant effort to make healthy, whole dinners.  This pineapple-glazed chicken breast with a seriously addictive pineapple-mango salsa is so, so good.

Pineapple-Chicken-Mango-Pineapple-Salsa


Pineapple Glazed Chicken with Pineapple-Mango Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c. pineapple juice
  • 2 T. packed brown sugar
  • 1 T. yellow mustard
  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 whole pineapple, peeled and diced
  • 1 whole mango, diced
  • 1/2 whole red onion, diced
  • 1 whole jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • lime juice, salt, sugar (all to taste)

Preheat the oven to 400*F.  Combine the pineapple juice, brown sugar, and yellow mustard, then bring to a boil in a small saucepan.  You are going to constantly stir the mixture so that the sugar dissolves and the sauce thickens (for me it took about 3 minutes).  Once you remove it from the heat and it starts to cool, it will thicken even more.  Brush it onto the chicken and bake for 15 minutes, uncovered.  After 15 minutes, brush them again and put them back in the oven until they are gorgeous and golden brown*.  While the chicken is cooking, prepare the salsa by combining all of the fruit and onion.  To finish, squeeze a few tablespoons of lime juice (1 medium lime) over the mixture and salt/sugar to taste.  Garnish with cilantro if you’ve got it…but that’s it!  So yummy, fruity, fresh, and simple.  We ate it with this coconut rice.

*Disclaimer/Suggestion:  I baked my chicken because we are sans grill, but this would be AWESOME if you grilled it!


Checking In!

22 Apr

I was just testing you guys to see how long you would come here to stare at an indecent plastic humanoid before you quit reading my blog all together.

Glad you guys are committed!

I have been SUPER busy lately, but I am managing to stay on track with my training.  Easter Sunday was my scheduled long run – my longest distance ever y’all.  5 miles!  The point in my training plan where shit gets real.  I still can’t believe I did it.

North-Park-Lake-Shore-Loop-Map

Shout out to Ron, the runner/2010 BM finisher/marathon coach/all-around good guy for randomly finding me and sticking with me for those 2 miles!  Despite the fact that your “easy pace” was more like a sprint to me, and despite the fact that I was super self conscious and tried to take a dozen walking breaks to scare you away, you stuck with me.  When I finished my run and got back in my car, I realized that the only reason my pace was so great was because of Ron and his ignorance of my awkwardness.  I finished strong – I felt horrible but great all at the same time!  I barely even had time to gather my thoughts or stretch because I had to high-tail it back home to get ready to drive to New Castle for Easter.  Phew!

Easter was very low key this year as we are all trying to eat cleaner.  The kids are finally old enough to enjoy Easter without the bunny.

Easter-Dinner-2014

I’m starting to feel really nervous about the relay, but I also have something big to share with you in the upcoming weeks!

That Time I Peed Outside

14 Apr

I almost hate to type these words because I don’t want to jinx anything but…my Sunday long run was awesome!

I don’t know why I get myself all worked up and pscyh myself out, but I was a nervous wreck on Saturday.  I mean, 4.5 miles.  For me, that’s quite big jump from the steady 2-3 milers I’ve been logging lately.  I was nervous about everything – would the weather hold up, what should I wear so I am max comfortable, where should I go, blah blah blah.  When I left the house to open Changin’ Time, I put on my trusty old drawstring running capris that I trained in most of last spring.  By the time I left the laundromat, I was all ready uncomfortable (like I never want to wear them again) so I decided to run home and change into my long running tights.  I wasn’t interested in having any excuses to give up!

Then, I drove over to South Side to run on the riverfront trail.  I don’t usually run this trail, but it’s mostly flat and heavily populated on weekends so I thought it would be ideal. (Heavily populated is ideal because I’m less likely to take walking breaks if people can see me <- I’m pathetic.)  I was absolutely nauseous the whole way to the parking lot because I wanted so badly to have a good run and to actually prove to myself that I could do it.

You have to love South Side on Sunday mornings…

I censored her lady parts...you're welcome.

I censored her lady parts…you’re welcome.

For the first mile, I was feeling a bit deflated, too!  Sometimes it’s a struggle to get my body to move in sync right away, but I thought back to a convo I had with my future mother-in-law last spring when she was training for the Pittsburgh half.  She said something like, “I need the first few miles of my long run to warm up.  I always feel like I’m a mess for the first mile.”  At the time I remember thinking to myself:  Um…I basically only run a few miles at a time!  My entire run is her warm up!  I suck!   I’m so nice to myself, aren’t I?  I’m glad I remember that conversation, though, because it reminded me that it’s okay to struggle.  Just because the first mile or so isn’t working out, that doesn’t mean the whole run will.

I happened to be almost to the 10th Street Bridge when the skies just opened up and it started to POUR.  I mean really pour…

April-Showers-Running-1

I huddled under the bridge for less than 5 minutes and just as quickly as it started, the rain just completely stopped.  Conveniently, the top half of me was soaked just enough to cool me down but not make me uncomfortable.  I don’t know if my iPhone and Garmin would’ve survived if it wasn’t for that bridge!  I took the brief break to stretch out a bit and thank the lucky stars that I wasn’t feeling like this disturbingly amusing graffiti nearby:

Graffiti-SouthSide-Pittsburgh

A few miles down the trail, I knew I could absolutely not go another step if I didn’t take a bathroom break but….there was no civilized toilet in sight.  So, I finally made the runner’s right of passage and squatted in a bush.  You’ll be happy to know that I fought the urge to document the moment via Instagram.  It was my first time peeing in a bush on South Side sober.  Writing this down makes me realize the run was more successful than I initially realized!  It’s the little things…blow up dolls and urination benchmarks.

Anyway, I was really proud of how few walking breaks I needed and how consistent my pace was.  The rain did leave a humidity in the air and I was overheating BADLY on the way back – clearly the decision to wear long running tights backfired.  I need to invest in some warm weather running bottoms this week.  You know, after it’s done snowing on Wednesday.  I’m getting so excited for marathon weekend!  I’ve been logging more consistent miles, I’m feeling great, and I peed outside!  Woop Woop!  Happy Monday!

5 Thing Friday

11 Apr

All week I’ve been reading about cool things and this is where I dump them:

1.  Beers Of The Burgh Festival – This weekend is the inaugural Beers of the Burgh Festival, which will be held in Lawrenceville and showcases over 30 local craft brewers.  General admission is sold out, but you can still purchase VIP tickets!

 

2.  40 Towns Create Land Bank – I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS FOR A LONG TIME.  Finally.  Finally some action on blighted properties in my community.  If you aren’t aware of what happens when a region is dependent on a single industry (ahem, steel) and then all the industry packs up and leaves:  blight.  Empty, rotting houses and overgrown brush in abandoned lots, riddled with garbage.  An analysis done by local municipalities found that:

“20,077 vacant lots and 7,158 parcels with blighted structures that cost local governments more than $10.7 million a year in direct municipal services, such as police, fire and code enforcement. They also account for nearly $8.7 million in lost annual tax revenue. But the biggest drain was on neighboring non-blighted properties, which the report found suffered a total loss of between $218 million and $247 million in property values.”

Some Pittsburgh neighborhoods were hit harder than others, but the creation of this land bank is huge!  To me, it may mean that we are finally able to combat blight and attract a more stable tax base to effected areas.  Some people oppose these types of strategies because it gives government control over private property.  I, on the other hand, stare at abandoned buildings all day long.  In my opinion, if you aren’t able or willing to fix up your janky property then you shouldn’t have it to begin with.  The boroughs’ hands are tied because the properties ultimately belong to someone – and many times those people can’t be found or don’t want to be found.  The borough has to deal with the problems associated with the property but can’t actually do anything about it.  A land bank would allow municipalities to generate tax income, sell properties, attract new property developers, and to improve the overall aesthetic of a neighborhood.    That is HUGE for boroughs like Homestead and Braddock.

 

3.  16 Ways To Kick Plastic – This is a quick read but it’s got some great ideas on how to use less plastic.  My 2 favorite ones are: 1) Just say no to disposable straws, carry a few BPA-free reusable ones with you 2) Bring your own doggy-bag container when you go to a restaurant.

 

4.  Cyclocable Bike Lifts In Pittsburgh?! – This is basically exactly what I need to become an avid adequate let’s just go with cyclist.  If it’s good enough for Norway, it’s good enough for me.  DON’T JUDGE ME PEOPLE.  THOSE HILLS ARE NO JOKE.  Somehow I doubt that even Bill Peduto could make this one happen.

 

5.  Check out this list of 42 Flowers You Can Eat…I can’t see myself throwing chrysanthimums on my salad but hey the list also includes herbs and spices.  If I’m every stranded in the wilderness somewhere (LIKE FRICK PARK because my God I get all turned around on those trails), I will be able to survive.  Or maybe someday I will be go all rogue with my cooking and makes virgin tear soup with hibiscus garnish.  Ew.

 

Service For The Soul

10 Apr

Each year, April brings quite a few things back into my life.  Things like rain and the promise of green things to follow, fresh air, BASEBALL, racing season, and tons of other stuff mostly having to do with being outside.  I prefer the transitional seasons, but spring is the most inspirational because the world is starting to wake up.  Things are starting to peek out of the soil.  Green leaves and small buds are starting to appear on bushes and trees.  The sun remembers that it can provide heat and not just light.  To me, April is like taking a big deep breath of fresh air for the first time in months.

Spring-Flowers-Phipps

As I stared at my calender the other day, I realized that there is one thing significantly lacking from my life:  service.  I’ve volunteered for as long as I can remember: candy striping in high school and even more in college, where I was involved in about a dozen organizations.  It was an easy way to find spiritual and emotional gratification, probably because it was so accessible.  On a college campus, organizations basically recruit free labor every day so I rarely had to look far for a great cause.  Since graduating from school, my priorities have shifted.  Now, much of my expended energy is self-serving.  All day is focused on myself, my home, my relationship, my business, me, me, me.

Yesterday, I registered to volunteer with REI in South Side for Earth Day and that got me thinking all the other non-profits in the ‘burgh.  After a few clicks, I was able to sign up for a few other service days with different organizations.  I’m excited to network and meet some eco- and community-minded people while making my city a better place AND I’m excited to report back to you guys!

If you are planning ahead for some family-friendly Earth Day celebrations in Pittsburgh, I highly recommend checking out:

Earth Day 2014 w/ Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy & Frick Environmental Center

Wild Earth Day @ Pgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium


How do you celebrate Earth Day?

If you’d like me to promote your Earth Day activity, just shoot me a comment!

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